Overdue Overhaul Connecticut Changes Its Common Interest Ownership Act

On July 1, 2010, a variety of sweeping changes to Connecticut’s Common Interest Ownership Act will take effect, and associations throughout the state will need to change the way they approach building management. “It’s the biggest change to Connecticut condo law in 25 years,” says attorney Adam J. Cohen, the chairman of community law with Pullman & Comley in Bridgeport.

So pronounced are the changes, in fact, that the law built in a waiting period of almost a year, to give associations, lawyers, and property managers time to get up to speed on the requirements. The law passed in July 2009, but most of its changes were delayed until this July.

CIOA – pronounced “KAI-oh-wah,” like Iowa with a K – began life as a nationally-developed standard that states could adapt for their own use. The Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act was “a model act that was developed nationally to be a guide to states,” explains Lisa J. Anderson, a partner with Bender, Anderson & Barba in Hamden. “Property law is, in this country, very localized to the states,” she says. “There’s wide variety.” The federal template was intended to createa national standard with respect to condo law.

States were not required to adopt CIOA; most did not. But the state of Connecticut put its own version on the books that became effective on January 1, 1984. This caused – and continues to cause – some confusion, as most of the old CIOA law only applied to condo associations formed after that date; even older condos were also subject to an earlier piece of legislation, the Condo Act of 1976.

“You could have two condos right next door to one another,” says Cohen. “One follows one set of laws, the otherfollows another.”


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  • I am trying to contact the appropriate party re co-op rules and responsibility in Greenwich. Due to very ambitious construction in the unit beneath mine (including moving walls), I am in my 3rd month of dealing with the construction (through Thanksgiving! And through Christmas!). I can handle the noise (of which there is plenty and constant). But the construction dust in my unit and on my clothes is outrageous. Additionally, the cracks in my walls (all types of small spidery cracks to straight -line cracks (along beams??) started last year when the contractor worked on unit across from mine. Same contractor is doing work now in unit under mine. My co-op has 5 buildings, 195 units - all 60 yrs old – but well maintained. However, in my 7 years here I have not experienced these cracks. I want them fixed, and the paint will have to be refreshed. During my renovation 7 yrs. ago I had no complaints. This contractor has done 3 units in my building - he uses actual JACKHAMMERS, machines without HEPA filters, does not cover construction with plastic to prevent dust traveling up the open walls, and closet floors, etc. He did send house cleaners one day and they cleaned. But I need real HEPA cleaners to remove dust from closets, clothes. He said he would pay for cleaning of my bed comforter ( $39) - but he has not honored that promise (I have email). The air quality sometimes is not good (I can feel it in my lungs - and I have no history of respiratory issues.) Another Shareholder has similar complaints re this contractor. I am exploring routes to take - including Small Claims Court, CIOA, CAICT, etc. Should I go through my insurance co.? I cannot afford a lawyer. Most disturbing, my Board and my Management Co. says it is my responsibility to contact the new Shareholder and/or Construction co. with my complaints. WHY?! They approved the construction and are in the position of authority. I am not. Can you suggest how best to address this? THANK YOU for any assistance. (My unit is well-maintained, clean, tastefully furnished - and I am no longer enjoying it.)